April 15 marks the beginning of the Evaluation/Quiet Period in college football recruiting. Monday is the first official first day of the Evaluation Period. Some college coaches may wait until later in the week to get “on the road,” because they have just finished spring ball.
With junior days and spring practice visits, many college coaches have already met with a recruit, at least once. For many, this will be the second time to meet a college recruiter. But the second “hello,” may be more important than you think.
MSR general facts about the spring evaluation period.
As said above, April 15 marks the beginning of the NCAA’s Evaluation Period for football, meaning college coaches and authorized athletic department staff are allowed to evaluate high school student-athletes at their academic institutions.
During the Evaluation Period, college coaches are allowed two visits per student-athlete: one to observe a player’s ability during a workout, a track meet, a baseball game, or any other sport and one to assess the athlete’s academic qualifications, including transcripts and test scores. A recruiter who conducts both an athletic and academic evaluation on the same day is permitted to do a second athletics evaluation during the period.
Some McCallister free “tidbits” for the high school recruit.
- As silly as it sounds, be in school. Really, be in school everyday during this period. Although most recruiters plan ahead, some will just stop by unannounced. With a recruiters busy schedule, that may be the only day. Be in school. If you are going to be absent, at least let your high school coach know why you are not going to be in school.
- Appearance is always important. Not a “dress up day,” but look presentable. No jeans that need a belt or suspenders. No baggy stuff. Wear clothes that your parents would want to be seen with you. Sit up in class. HAVE your homework done.
- The handshake is important. Use a good strong handshake. Use the “fist bump,” as you are leaving. In 2019, people still use the “five” with the “half hug.” Practice the “half-hug.” Every so often, even the 70 year old McCallister uses the “half-hug.” Whatever your handshake preference may be, be firm. Know how to handshake.
- Smile as you give the coach your name. By NCAA rule, a “hello,” is supposed to be the extent of the conversation. Maybe an invitation to the school’s summer camp is acceptable, but after that, you should be on your way back to class.
- Show some energy as you meet the college coach. Do not act like you just got up from a nap in class. If the school is a mid-major and not a Power Five school, show the same energy. If the school is a D-2 school, like Ashland or Tiffin, use the same amount of energy and interest, as well.
- Anytime, not just the evaluation period coming up, always look the college coach eye to eye. Talk with him, but don’t drop your head or look away. As he speaks to you, analyze him. To the point, that after you walk away, the college recruiter should wonder what kind of impression that he has made on you.
- Just be yourself, but be your best self. First impressions are huge. Make that first impression a really good one. For some of you, this is your first job interview. And, most of you, want that 2nd interview.
For the 2021 and 2022 Classes
College coaches will be evaluating underclassmen as well. Right or wrong, it is reality. The above “what is worth,” applies to college recruits in the 2021 and 2022 Classes, as well. In some ways, more important for them. You should be getting a camp invitation. For real, this is probably your first job interview.
Although many 2020 recruits have been fortunate to meet college coaches earlier in the process through junior days, spring practice, or unofficial visits to campus, this April 15-May 31 period is equally important. College coaches see recruits in a different setting. They also can talk with your high school football coach more freely. High school transcripts are more readily available. College coaches can talk with people in the school system. If they do their job, this is a time to learn much about a recruit.
Honesty, the “bump rule,” is like the 65 mile speed limit. A rule, but hardly enforced by the NCAA. Be prepared for a college coach to talk with you. How long, who knows. A few years ago I watched a coach from Northwestern take a recruit on a 15 minute walk at a high school track meet.
A casual, but important time in the recruiting process. Remember – Jobs are tough to get, especially the good ones.